Kawanabe Kyosai 河鍋 暁斎: Daikoku in a Tug of War with Rats 新板 大黒天福引之図

Kawanabe Kyōsai 河鍋 暁斎

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Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai 河鍋 暁斎
Title: Shimpan Daikokuten fukubiki no zu (Daikokuten’s Draw of Fortune, Newly Published)

Seven Gods of Happiness, Lottery of Daikoku. The Seven Lucky Gods were a favorite set of characters for Kyosai, and they are often depicted in his paintings. Beginning in 1884, Kyosai was requested to create a triptych image celebrating each New Year. He matched animals of the zodiac with one of the Lucky Gods. The year 1888 was the Year of the Mouse (Rat) in the Japanese calendar, and he chose a lottery by Daikoku, who is traditionally a friend of the mouse, as his subject. In this lottery, the first prize is a barrel of Masumune sake (seen far right), not the traditional prize of gold. Kyosai was known for his love of sake. Daikoku is the good of wealth and good fortune, and the hidden ends of the red strings he holds probably relate to the drawing/lottery. To the right seems to be Otafuku holding a tray with one of the prizes, and behind her is heaped an assortment prizes, each labeled. Upper left we see the rest of the Seven Lucky Gods, who appear to be enjoying/enacting an amusing performance, also watched by more rats. 

Date: 1887
Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Barely visible center crease. Untrimmed and unbacked.
Dimensions:  37.2 x 75 cm
Publisher:  Takekawa Unokichi
Signature: --Kyosai --
Literature: Comic Genius: Kawanabe Kyosai (Oikawa, Clark, Forrer, 1996), number 155, page 244.


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